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    • By JW Insider
      We know that dates like 1513 BCE, 606 BCE, 587 BCE, 539 BCE, 70 CE (or AD), don't occur in the Bible, nor in the ancient astronomical diaries either. If we can pin a specific astronomical event to a record of any of Nebuchadnezzar's years, it would help. But we don't need those kinds dates yet. We can get them later.
      The first thing we need to do is to figure out where the variously listed kings fit in our timeline relative to each other. If we knew the order of the kings in succession and knew how long they each ruled for, we could at least create a "relative" timeline.
      So. To begin. Do ancient records provide an agreed upon list of kings, their order of succession, and the lengths of their rule?
      Yes.
      Do all ancient records agree?
      No. (Most would argue that they agree in all the important areas, and minor disagreements are easily fixed, but we should still admit that not all records are 100% in agreement.)
      So. Can we find two or three that do agree with each other, or perhaps even the majority of the records, in order to start a tentative timeline, and then deal with the disagreements later?
      Yes. The most important of the ancient records from Babylon itself and from those who made use of Babylonian records for astronomical purposes all agree anyway (Babylonians, Persians, Greeks). We would expect the most accurate records to relate to works for predicting or understanding eclipses (for example) or various lunar cycles  and planetary movements. We know that certain types of astronomical phenomena were predicted in advance, or even known to be occurring even if invisible behind thick clouds, or because it occurred below the horizon, or invisible because some events relative to stars and planets could not be seen in the daytime. So  we should expect records accurate enough to be used to actually calculate and predict a future eclipse even if it would be invisible.
      OK. So we'll put into our chart an example where two of these records agree with each other. For now, we'll pick the Royal King List that must have been available to Ptolemy's Almagest as a kind of "look-up table" and the writings of Berossus a Babylonian historian/priest from the Seleucid Period. They both agree on the following:
      Nabopolassar        21 years Nebuchadnezzar  43 years Awel-Marduk         2 years Neriglissar             4 years [Labashi-Marduk  9 months]* Nabonidus            17 years So, we have two "witnesses" (so far) to the names, years, and order of succession for these kings, which I will place in the chart below. To save space and give us a fairly legible font size, I only put in the last few years of Nabopolassar's 21 year reign. And we haven't discussed the length of position of Cyrus reign yet, but both Berossus and the Royal King List give him 9 years starting immediately after the 17th year of Nabonidus.
      So this, so far, becomes an 81-year span (arbitarily) from the 16th year of Nabopolassar up to the 9th year of Cyrus as King of Babylon. It might not be right, but it's a version that we can begin to test against the data to see if it holds up. E-M by the way, is short for Evil-Merodach (Awel-Marduk).

      1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45 46 47 48 49 50 51 52 53 54 55 56 57 58 59 60 61 62 63 64 65 66 67 68 69 70 71 72 73 74 75 76 77 78 79 80 81 Nabopo-lassar N E B U C H A D N E Z Z A R II (reigned for 43 years) E-M Nerig- lissar N A B O N I D U S C Y R U S 16 17 18 19 20 21 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 1 2 1 2 3 4 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9  
      *Labashi-Marduk reigned only a few months, but we would NOT expect his name included in a timeline used for counting the number of years between any points on the timeline. And we definitely would not expect it to be included for any purposes related to astronomy calculations. That's because if a reign was so short that it started in a year already counted as "Neriglissar 4" and it ended before the start of "Nabonidus 1" then it should not be inserted because those full years were already counted. In fact, it would be considered a mistake then to include it in an astronomical reference, because it would have thrown off all calculations. predictions and cycles by a full year, making the entire king list worthless. In this case, Berossus, in the role of historian mentions him, but in the Royal King List used for astronomical purposes as a reference for Ptolemy's Almagest, for example, it should NOT be listed, and it wasn't.
    • By César Chávez
      Well at least Theologians are beginning to see how CORRECT the Watchtower is by them demonstrating in their new Bible Studies the 3 Babylonian deportations of the Judeans.
      However, they still have to conjoin the fall of Jerusalem from 586 BC to an earlier date written in human history and scripture.
      An honest assessment, that can’t be found here by questionable people.
      NIV, Bible Study has been introduced here, not to show the publishing house but the actions that are now being considered and printed that agrees in similar fashion with the Watchtower. If they are willing to reconsider that stance, then it shouldn’t be a problem about 1914.
      The NIV Study Bible
      Copyright © 1985, 1995, 2002, 2008, 2011, 2020 by Zondervan


      Therefore, 1914 is not problematic to those that, understand.
    • By JW Insider
      A recent topic about whether the Watchtower view of 607 BCE is SCRIPTURALLY supported is linked below. This new topic should provide a better place to discuss the SECULAR evidence. I also think it would be useful to discuss the methodology that the Watch Tower Society has historically used to treat this evidence.
      I would hope that we can do this without so much side discussions of unrelated topics. To avoid another topic that goes on for 30+ pages where only half of them were on-topic, I would suggest that if we get enough off-topic posts, we merely move them to another more appropriate topic.
      The link to the most recent topic on a similar subject is here:


       
    • By The Librarian
      This is going to be fun.
      The darkness at the time of Jesus’ Crucifixion gives us solid proof — either of the Bible lying or the Bible recording a remarkable truth. The Bible describes two spectacular events on the day of Jesus’ Crucifixion.
      Listen to how Mark describes the first: “And when the sixth hour had come, there was darkness over the whole land until the ninth hour” (Mark 15:33 NIV).
      If darkness covered the entire land, it would be visible to more than those in Jerusalem. Everybody around the Roman Empire should have seen something, if it was real.
      The second event likewise would be visible everywhere. Joel prophesied it and Peter quoted it:
      (Acts 2:16, 19–22)
      A blood moon occurs during a lunar eclipse. As with the darkness, it should be widely visible, if indeed it happened during Jesus’ crucifixion — as Peter indicates it did.
      If we find nothing in the historical record, then it appears the Bible lied.
      But do find this in the historical record — well, then things get interesting.
      So what do we find?
      Thallus was one of the first to write about the darkness at the time of the Crucifixion, writing at about 52 AD/CE. His original work has been lost, but Julius Africanus, an historian who wrote around 221 A.D., quotes Thallus to disagree with him:
      Both of Thallus and Julius attest to the darkness as a real event, so much so that they can bicker about the cause.
      Phlegon, a Greek historian and author of a detailed chronology in 137 AD/CE, wrote:
      This one is especially handy, as it corroborates the exact year and time of day for the darkness, as well as and the earthquake.
      Africanus also wrote a five-volume history of the world c. 221 AD/CE. His account is particularly noteworthy both for its length and for his credibility; he had impressed Roman Emperor Alexander Severus so well with his historical rigor that he was put in charge of the Emperor's library in the Pantheon; in other words, he was the most well-known, influential, and well-resourced historian in the Empire.
      While I quoted him briefly above to highlight Thallus’ contribution, Africanus’ full paragraph adds a great deal more detail:
      This one additionally is valuable given that it mentions the resurrection of the dead and again the earthquake, in addition to the darkness.
      Tertullian (second century) also provides a remarkable attestation, writing:
      Not only does Tertullian attest to it, but he appeals to how well-recorded the event is in established historical archives of the time. This is perhaps the most significant attribution, given that he cites how extensively the event was recorded and appeals to the public records to prove his point.
      The darkness, then, is well-established.
      What then do we find about a blood moon?
      It turns out that a lunar eclipse did happen on exactly the day the darkness was recorded: April 3, 33 A.D./C.E.

      A view of the partial lunar eclipse on August 7, 2017 as seen from Malta in the Mediterranean Sea.
      Credit and copyright: Leonard Ellul-Mercer.

      The precise data on the partial lunar eclipses of April 3, 33 A.D./C.E.
      This blood moon during the day of Jesus’ Crucifixion was so well-known that writers in the early church appealed to it frequently.
      Skeptics have long scoffed at these details in the Bible. But like most details in the Scriptures, when you dig into the research, you find the claims verified.
      The Bible is not a book of cleverly-invented myths. It records real events that happened in real history. The more we press into the individual details, the more we find them verified.
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    • Guest Nicole
      By Guest Nicole
      How to get kids ready for, and excited about, the Great American Eclipse
       
      You’re standing in the yard with your children. The temperature has just dropped 20 degrees, and it’s pitch dark. Not normal nighttime dark — your kids have seen that before — but completely black, as though all the light is gone from the world. Because it has.
      The Great American Eclipse is coming Aug. 21. For the first time in American history, a total solar eclipse will be seen only in the United States. It is also the first total solar eclipse since 1918 to move from coast to coast. At 10:15 a.m. Pacific time, totality begins outside Depoe Bay, Ore.; at 2:49 p.m. Eastern time, it ends near McClellanville, S.C. In the time between, the eclipse will darken 12 states: Oregon, Idaho, Wyoming, Nebraska, Kansas, Missouri, Illinois, Kentucky, Tennessee, North Carolina, Georgia and South Carolina. Eighty percent of the U.S. population lives within 600 miles of the eclipse path.
      In short, if you don’t live in what scientists call “the totality band,” you need to get there. The rest of North America will see a partial solar eclipse, but astronomer Jay M. Pasachoff says settling for a partial eclipse when you could see a total one is like “standing outside an opera house and saying that you have seen the opera; in both cases, you have missed the main event.” Stepping one millimeter outside totality changes everything.
      Read more: https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/parenting/wp/2017/06/29/how-to-get-kids-ready-for-and-excited-about-the-great-american-eclipse/?utm_term=.ca8067a74794
    • Guest Nicole
      By Guest Nicole
      The Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C., is now home to some of Ethiopia’s most important religious manuscripts after they were recently donated to the university by Chicago-based collectors Gerald and Barbara Weiner. The couple gave out the handmade leather manuscripts with the hope of allowing Ethiopians in the U.S. to use them for prayers and study, according to Catholic News Agency.
      Dr. Aaron M. Butts, a professor of Semitic and Egyptian Languages and Literature at the university, put up a statement saying the collection “provides unparalleled primary sources for the study of Eastern Christianity.”
      What’s In the Collection?
      In total, the collection is comprised of 125 Christian manuscripts, including liturgical books, hagiographies, psalters, and 215 Islamic manuscripts, including the Quran and commentaries on Quran.

      According to the Catholic News Agency, it’s the largest collection of Ethiopian Islamic manuscripts outside of Ethiopia.
      More than 600 manuscripts were handmade using hides from calves, sheep, and goats, and are estimated to date back to the 18th and 19th century.
      In the collection, there are over 350 “magic” scrolls, which are traditional Christian prayer talismans, and each was handwritten by a “debtera,” or a cleric in the Ethiopian church, and includes the name of the person it was written for.
      Pieces of the manuscripts were worn around the neck for purposes of helping people with different kinds of ailments, including headaches, painful menstruation, and complicated childbirth.
      Butts suggests that some of these scrolls, which were predominantly worn by women, may have been passed down through many generations, mainly from mother to daughter.
      He added that the prayer jewels haven’t been studied much due to the personal nature of their use.
      Washington, D.C., hosts one of the largest Ethiopian communities outside Ethiopia, and has several Ethiopian Orthodox and Catholic churches and cultural centers, making it the best location to donate the manuscripts.
      Ethiopian Religion
      Ethiopia is predominantly a Christian country, with the majority of Christians belonging to the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church.
      However, there are other small religious communities in the country, including Muslims, Judaists, and Pagans. There is also a minority section of Christians who are Roman Catholics or Protestants.
      Many Ethiopians still use the prayer scrolls for protection and healing. They are often inscribed with prayers, spells, and charms to offer protection to their specific owner.
      The text on these “magic” scrolls is often derived from the bible, which is why the majority of churches in the country tolerate despite their connection to magic.

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